Monday, July 25, 2016

Dishonest Tactics (1972)

From the September 1972 issue of the Socialist Standard

SELF-STYLED REVOLUTIONARY TELLS ALL 

On 18th May a speaker from the Socialist Party of Great Britain went to the University of Kent, at Canterbury, for a debate on “Should the Working Class Support the Labour Party?” The affirmative was to be taken by Reg Race, a local Labour Party agent.

Since Race’s speech was made before an audience, there is no reason why its contents should not be made known here. (Notes of the speech were made by our speaker, and Race agreed in front of the audience that they were a fair summary of what he had said.)

Race said he had no time for the Labour Party and its reformism. He described the Labour leadership as “shit”, and thought the idea of changing society through Parliament was nonsense. He was for “the revolutionary movement”, but the fact that Labour had mass working-class support gave the opportunity for “revolutionaries” to use it. Their objective should be to try to take over the Labour Party, then get it while in power to engineer an economic crisis of which they could take advantage.

As far as could be judged, “the revolutionary movement” meant such factions as the International Marxist Group and International Socialists. We are not concerned here with the ideas put forward by Race, which deserve notice only as antiquities, but with the double dishonesty of the position shown.

On one hand. Race presumably spends his time persuading people to vote for Labour, in which he acknowledges he does not believe, and for candidates and leaders whom, when elected, he describes with a four-letter word. On the other, his “revolutionary movement" which cannot (as he admits) gain support by its own merits hopes to pass itself off to the electorate as Labour and then, at a chosen moment, whip off the mask and inaugurate policies for which it has no mandate.

The working class would, we are sure, be enthusiastic over the plan of Race and his friends to try and make it revolutionary by arranging a slump. We say that this sort of deceit can benefit nobody except those who are seeking political power for themselves.


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